Song: "Memory Lane (Sittin In Da Park)" (1994)
Album: Illmatic

Masterful marketing: In 1994, hip-hop had yet to cross over to the level it would reach in the early 2000s. But Nasty Nas knew the audience-those mentioned herein-and the ones he knew who he wanted to reach: Everyone who had any interest in those people, which turned out, of course, to be everyone. He expressed it with detailed specificity to open his nostalgic "Memory Lane," and take those people-real, unfiltered characters in both hip-hop and urban america-into rap classic status with him.